The importance of finding a guardian for those with severe autism

Children with severe forms of autism may have significant challenges reaching certain life milestones. Because of this, some parents might worry about what would happen to the child if both of them were to die.

Luckily, there are options available. In these instances, parents may want to consider establishing a legal caretaker for the child if the unfortunate were to occur. However, because of the child’s condition, parents often need to consider multiple factors when selecting a guardian, as they will want to make sure the chosen caretaker fully understands the child’s mental disorder and how it impacts their everyday living.

Defining severe autism

According to the DSM-5, level three autism is the most severe form of the disorder. Those with the condition often need more support, as they can have extreme difficulties with communication skills, restrictive behaviors and coping with changes in their environment.

Due to these symptoms, the child may require consistent therapy, medications for co-occurring conditions and other types of intervention well into their adult life.

Benefits of establishing a guardian

These are some of the benefits a legal guardian can bring:

  • They can assist in making legal and financial decisions that can benefit the child.
  • They can help make sure the child gets the proper medical care and treatment.
  • They can help the child make basic decisions like what to wear and what to eat.
  • They can help select an appropriate housing or community living space once the child becomes an adult.
  • They can sign contracts, government documents and other agreements on the child’s behalf.

Selecting the right caretaker is important

When families have a child with severe mental impairments, choosing a transparent and empathetic guardian can be crucial. Once parents have found someone who could be a good fit for their circumstances, an experienced attorney can help them formalize their request in writing.